House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday that the controversial torture scenes depicted in the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the killing of Osama bin Laden, should be viewed as the makings of a Hollywood movie and nothing more.
At issue is the film’s opening sequence, which shows a terrorist being waterboarded. Critics charge that the movie, which opens by telling the audience it is “based on first-hand accounts of actual events,” incorrectly implies that torture yielded bin Laden’s whereabouts.
“It’s not a documentary, it’s a Hollywood movie, and I hope no one walks into any Hollywood movie thinking that’s the portrayal of accuracy about what really happened,” Rogers told Andrea Mitchell Thursday.
Rogers, a former FBI Special Agent, said he hadn’t seen the movie. He was serving as chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Navy SEALs raided bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, resulting in bin Laden’s death.
“There was information through interrogations, through interviews, through physical surveillance, through electronic surveillance, through [human intelligence] sources… these were small pieces that built on each other over time,” Rogers said. “I guarantee you the movie doesn’t put into place all of those pieces that came together to catch Osama bin Laden.”
A bipartisan group of senators including Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., sent a formal letter of complaint to Sony Pictures, the film’s production company Wednesday, calling the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading.”
The film was controversial before it even hit theaters: Back in August, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch charged that Obama administration officials leaked information to director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, based on records obtained by the group through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“I’m disappointed that there may have been some classified info leaked to the people who were making the movie,” Rogers said. “That’s something we should be concerned about.”